How to be a Great Volunteer

Now that summer is in full swing, volunteerism is skyrocketing as people find good causes to support. There is more to volunteering then just showing up on the day you committed, so below are some tricks to be a great volunteer.


I took this from my high school agriculture teacher, who had a poster with this quote at the front of his classroom. He drilled the importance of integrity into our teenage minds until I couldn’t forget it. The lesson is simple: mean what you say. If you say you are going to do something, then do it.  Although organizations love to have volunteers, they want good volunteers who will show up for the shift they signed up for.


No matter where I volunteer, I always gain a new insight from the people I help. At Mercer Clinic for the Homeless in Sacramento, California volunteer veterinarians, vet students, and undergraduates provide medical care to pets of the homeless. Each time I attend this clinic I learn new things about the world around me and gain a better appreciation of animals and their owners. There is no room for judgement here. Instead, I learn to empathize and understand my client’s situations. Serving a segment of the population that you are unfamiliar with will help broaden your horizon, diversify your experiences, and allow you to relate to new people and their lifestyle.


I have volunteered at many events over the years and it always pays to have fun. Not only will you be excited, but so will everyone else. Being upbeat and positive always helps make the day go by faster and more productively. Being a downer or being too serious about your volunteer work will negatively affect everyone else’s work. Don’t be that person! Everyone is there to help and make a positive difference in the lives of others, so be happy-you’re doing good work!


If you find yourself without work to do during your volunteer shift, then ask the event leader or volunteer coordinator if there are any available tasks to be done. The event leader will be impressed at your willingness to serve and your great work ethic.


Always ask about the quality of your work and inquire about areas in which you can improve. Asking these simple questions will show the  event leaders that you are passionate about serving others by performing your absolute best. This will leave a good impression and you may walk away with a recommendation if you play your cards right.

Have you volunteered recently?


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